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Olive Goes The Crowdfunding Route With Its Open Platform, All-In-One Home Music Player

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Olive, a well established San Francisco-based audio company that makes high-end digital home audio systems, today took the somewhat unusual route of launching its latest product on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The new Olive ONE, as it’s called, is a departure for the company in more ways than that, however: it’s also a much more affordable option with a pre-order entry-level price of $399, and it features open architecture Olive hopes will become a vibrant development platform.

The Olive ONE is a home music player, which can provide access to all music stored on devices connected to your home network. You can optionally add built-in hard drives in 1TB and 2TB capacities to add more storage, and access your music while you’re away via Olive’s Home Cloud free service. The Olive ONE can connect to Miracast-compatible TV sets to let you navigate your collection on the big screen, or you can use the built-in display on the device or Android or iOS dedicated remote apps.

Where the Olive ONE differs from a lot of other home theatre music playing solutions is its audiophile pedigree. The device uses what the company touts as  a “best-in-class 32-bit/384kHz DAC by Burr-Brown” as well as dual HD amplifiers, and can connect via Miracast, as mentioned above, an analog speaker out connection, Bluetooth stereo streaming or Wi-Fi Direct, and it supports those protocols plus DLNA for audio input. It can also playback music from streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and even YouTube, and is compatible with Macs or PCs for detecting network-stored music.

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Essentially, Olive ONE is a high-end Sonos competitor, but one that currently doesn’t include its own speaker (though a stackable speaker add-on, atop which the ONE will sit, is planned for later development). But the real promise of the one, and the reason the company went to Indiegogo to fund it according to Olive Media SVP of Business Development Robert Altmann, is that Olive is hoping to turn the ONE into a platform where artists and developers can connect directly with music-lovers for unique experiences.

The 7-inch capacitive LCD screen resting atop the ONE’s surface is designed to give developers opportunity to build apps for the device’s ONE music OS, as well as provide artists the opportunity to crowdfund their projects and recordings directly through the media player itself. Altmann said in an email that he hopes the ONE becomes a new route for artists to connect directly with their fans, through which they could eventually deliver content made for the ONE platform explicitly. Imagine being at home and enjoying a concert or other recorded live music event you helped fund: that’s something the ONE could potentially enable once it goes to market.

Indiegogo backers will have plenty of opportunity to influence the ONE’s ultimate design, according to Olive, including with color choice and charting a path for accessories and add-ons. The company is looking for $200,000 for this campaign, and anticipates shipping the ONE in July 2013, with an SDK for developers planned for a May delivery.